Islamabad: Dr. Arif Alvi, the 13th President of the country, will complete his term in September this year. But due to the dissolution of the legislatures in August, there will be no electoral college to elect a new president.
Meanwhile, the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies have already been dissolved.
Hence, the question arises as to who will take over the role of head of state when the five-year term of President Alvi – who assumed office on September 9, 2018 – will complete his term in office on September 8.
According to Article 41 (4) of the Constitution: “An election to the office of the President shall be held not earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of the President: Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the aforesaid period by reason of the dissolution of the National Assembly, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly.”
Therefore, the presidential election has to be held 30 days before September 8.
However, according to the constitution, the voting to elect the new president will be done by an electoral college consisting of the Senate, the National Assembly and all provincial assemblies.
“At present the Electoral College is incomplete as the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies do not exist; therefore, the President cannot be elected,” Rasheed Chowdhury, Deputy Director Programs, Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFN), told Geo News.
Meanwhile, Kunwar Dilshad, Adviser on Law and Parliamentary Affairs to the Chief Minister of Punjab, said that the election for the President would take place after the completion of the Electoral College.
Article 44(1) of the Constitution states that the President shall continue in office after the expiration of his term until a new President is elected and enters upon the office.
Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, chairman of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, said the head of state will continue to perform his duties even after his term ends, unless a precursor replaces him.
Therefore, as per the constitution, President Alvi will remain in office until a new president is elected.
It is to be noted that the new President must be elected within 30 days of the date of the general election.